Nememiah 5 – Coming Soon!

It’s been a long (long, long, long) time coming, but the final book is now in the hands of my editor and beta readers, and will soon be winging its way to my publisher for final approval and publication.  I know everyone waiting for the book has been incredibly patient, and in many cases, have begun to get frustrated with the long delay between this book and the last one.

I have no excuses, other than the fact that real life got in the way.  No.  I’m not dead.  No.  I didn’t run out of ideas.  And no, I never intended to finish the series where it ended at the end of Book 4.  The fact of the matter is that I had a huge, unplanned blip on my radar in the form of a catastrophic mental health breakdown some two and half years ago, which was followed by a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder.  Which actually came as a relief, after years of being diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder which didn’t quite cover all the stuff that went on in my head on a day-to-day basis.

In recent months, I’ve finally gotten settled onto a good level of meds, which has led to my previously stifled creative flow being back in full force.  And so, I’m delighted to let people know that if they’ve hung around for this long, all the answers are going to be revealed.  And I love you and thank you for putting up with an abysmally long wait.  First reactions from beta readers have been extremely positive, and I’m hoping that you (the readers) will be satisfied with the final journey.

Teaser 3 - I was Archangelo's wife...

The Bright Spots in the Mania

In what most would see as complete insanity, I’ve managed to find some bright spots in the current mania I’ve been struggling with.
When I’m feeling particularly anxious, repetitivity is the key to retaining whatever sanity I might have left. Consequently, in the past three or four weeks, I’ve been reorganizing my book collection (I did mention it a few weeks ago… and since then it’s become bigger than Ben-Hur in terms of the battle of Deb vs her books.)
It all started because I don’t like the arbitrary way in which Kindle organizes my books – mainly the fact that it doesn’t necessarily keep my books in the order in which I like them, nor does it necessarily keep series in order. So I went in search of a new program and decide to use Calibre to fix the metadata, and Moon Reader Plus for reading. Yes, yes, I know I could have used Calibre to do both, but Calibre isn’t ‘pretty enough’ for my reading tastes.
So I spent a considerable period of time organizing my books in calibre, placing them together in series, tagging them regarding subject and ensuring that all the names etc. were uniform in their writing. (I’m so OCD currently, I can’t stand initials not to be uniformly punctuated.)
Now keep in mind, I’m a book lover. I have all sorts of books, ranging from old classics (which I’m definitely going to read one day) to reference books for writing and publishing. We’re talking about roughly 1200 books here – although it has been boosted by about another 200 in recent weeks as I’ve struggled with the swings through depression and mania. So this has taken some time.
I was a little perturbed when I reached the ‘transfer the books from Calibre to Moon Reader’ because a lot of my changed metadata got lost in translation. Normally, al things being equal, I would have thought this through more clearly, but being the way I am… I didn’t. I proceeded to ‘tweak’ the roughly 1200 books until they were the way I wanted them in Moon Reader. Which took about a week – day and night – while I’ve struggled with rampant insomnia..
Which was about the time I realized that perhaps I should have thought harder about this and put the books onto my SD card, rather than the main memory on my tablet, which is kind of full..
‘No problem’, I thought. ‘I’ll just transfer all the book files to the SD card, and we’ll be all good. It’ll take a couple of minutes.’
Nope.
Moon Reader lost the plot, I lost the plot, and I decided to start all over again because I couldn’t figure out how to fix it. (I’m nothing if not determined when I’m manic. See? There’s a bright spot.)
So I began again, and noticed that when I returned the books from Calibre to Moon Reader, SOME (and I’m talking a minimal amount) of the books now had the right metadata,. Hmmm. Have no idea how that happened. Proceed to ensure all the book records are now safely stored on the SD card, and proceed with reorganizing all the books in Moon Reader. Again. Which has taken about another week, day and night. (I’m nothing if not persistent when things get in my head. See? Another bright spot.)
Got all the books nicely organized, then decided I might like to have a copy of them on my phone as well. (You know, for those emergencies when I don’t have my tablet and urgently need to read a book on a specific subject.) Don’t laugh. It could happen.
Go to put them on my phone, and realize I’ve got a problem, because now I have them transferred onto my phone… they all need reorganizing again. ‘No problems,’ I think. ‘I’ll just back up from the tablet and restore to the phone.’
It didn’t work. And I screwed up all the files on my phone. And just to make doubly sure I’d screwed up the theory, I managed to bugger them up on the tablet as well. (Don’t ask… this is just a side effect of my Bipolar madness.)
So I’m mooching around on Google, trying to find a solution to this issue (that determination kicks in again, because I’m not good at giving up in these circumstances)… and I come across a little message from some kind soul on one of the forums.
‘Don’t forget that you MUST resave your book files after amending the metadata to make the new metadata overwrite the old’.
Ah-HA!
Set up Calibre to rewrite the files overnight, and after a double dose of bipolar meds, go to bed. And actually sleep, which is such a blessing after weeks of insomnia. (See? Another bright spot!)
This morning, I take my brand spanky new book files, upload them onto Moon Reader… and everything is just about perfect. Everything is there, exactly where I want it to be, other than a few small tweaks to reorder book series which stretch into double figures. I hate them to be out of order, i.e. 1, 10, 2, etc…
And while my tenacity on this particular project has known no bounds… I decided to just upload exactly the same files onto my phone and leave well enough alone.

And in a postscript to those people who are going to come up with some reason why I shouldn’t have bothered, here are my reasons in advance.

1. Yes, I could just forgo the issue and put up with them on Kindle out of order and with incorrect punctuation – but that agitates me no end.
2. Yes, I’m aware that ‘real’ books don’t have the same issues. But they also tend to come in different sizes, and quite often, halfway through a series the publisher changes the ‘scheme’ of the covers, which just shits me to death. So they would drive me just as nuts as ebooks do when they’re ‘wrong’.
3. Yes, I’m nuts. But I think that’s already been well-established. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

And now, at last, I’m off to read a book in peace. And hopefully, get another night of sleep tonight.

 

Why I Need to Learn How to Say NO…

Have I mentioned how much I hate the GPS in my car? This is not a new situation, I’ve hated the GPS in my car since… well, since I got the GPS. Perhaps I’m too much of a free spirit (or too stubborn) to listen to a very annoying voice telling me which direction to head in, or perhaps I just cringe every time she mispronounces a street name. (i.e. Pinaster Parade in Ellenbrook somehow becomes ‘Penis-ter’, and for some reason she insists on pronouncing Mirrabooka Drive as though it’s a spell out of a Harry Potter book).
Anyhoo… yesterday, Bonnie picked up an extra shift at Gamesworld – not at Cannington, but over at their other store in Booragoon.
Now all things being equal, the answer to ‘Can I do a shift at Booragoon’ should have been a resounding no. I’ve swung from a manic episode, plunged into a depression, and swung back into manic in the past month – consequently I avoid driving because frankly, I’m probably dangerous behind the wheel and I’m not focused enough to be driving (in my opinion). But years of conditioning to automatically say ‘yes’ to all and everything I’m asked to do (regardless of whether it’s something I want to do, or I’m capable of doing) got in the way.
I said yes.

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And immediately began to stress over it, because Bonnie couldn’t get to Booragoon by public transport, and the boys were all at work, and Steve is currently in Sydney working – which meant I had to get her to Booragoon.
Which leads back to the GPS. I kind of know the way to Booragoon, but thought it would be better to use the GPS, because that way, (supposedly), I wouldn’t have to think about where I was going.
We set off (happily, leaving plenty of time at the other end for Bonza to figure out where in Garden City the Gamesworld Store happens to be) and ‘Miss GPS’ automatically shits me to death by insisting that I should turn left at Wharton Road, which I knew would lead me to Armadale Road, and from there, onto the freeway… which is the one road that I do NOT want to drive on. The freeway on the best of days makes my anxiety peak… and trust me, you do not want to suffer a panic attack on a freeway – it’s not good ju-ju.
Consequently, I tell Miss GPS to mind her own business and continue around the roundabout to continue up Nicholson Road. She decides she should ‘recalculate’.
We get along amiably until we get onto South Street, at which point she announces we should turn left onto Roe Highway… which leads us back to the freeway…
I can begin to feel tension rising in the my shoulders, and I’m clutching the steering wheel to the point where my fingernails are digging into the material, a sure sign that I’m heading towards panic. The roads around here are busy, and as I mentioned above… I probably should have said no.
Tell Miss GPS to mind her own business and continue down South Street.
She decides to recalculate.
We reach Murdoch and sure enough, Miss GPS is all ‘turn right, turn right’… onto the freeway.
At this point, I find myself in a turn right only lane, (to go onto the freeway) surrounded by traffic, and my stress levels increase.

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Manage to get out of that lane, call Miss GPS a few choice words in my head, and sail on down South Street. We get to the next intersection, and again, Miss GPS insists we should turn right, but by this time, I’m convinced that it’s a plot to get me back to the freeway…so I ignore her and continue.
Which is followed by Miss GPS assuring me, regularly, that now I need to TURN BACK.
Sigh.
Decide I have no choice but to turn back (and South Street is a very busy street too) and find that Miss GPS was actually right and we DID have to turn.
By now, I’m practicing my breathing exercises to avoid having to pull over, my palms are sweating, my heart is racing and I’m not a happy bunny.
Finally get to Garden City and I spend ten minutes in the carpark, punching random buttons on Miss GPS until I come across a ticked box which says ‘Always use freeways where possible’
Unticked the bloody thing and came home, where I proceeded to collapse into a chair and remind myself again why I shouldn’t attempt these things when I know the answer to the request should be ‘No, I’m afraid I can’t do that.’
I live in hope that I’ll learn this lesson.

It’s been another nutty day…

Been a while since you’ve all been subjected to an epic post in which we all get to giggle at the lunacy that is me. Today has been one of those nutty days, where things rapidly got out of control.
Tomorrow night we’re having a get together with BIL, SIL and MIL for the joint celebration of SIL’s Birthday and mine. (We share the same birth date.)
So in my wisdom, because I’ve gradually been getting back into baking, I decided to forgo ‘Plan A’, which was to go out to dinner, and replaced it with ‘Plan B’, in which I decided we would have a range of yummy finger foods… of which I would do some of the creating. As with all my brilliant ideas… it seemed like a good idea at the time.
This morning, I set out with purpose to create some of the finger food-style dishes we’d planned. First step, make up some Bolognaise Sauce in preparation for a batch of savory muffins.
Naturally, being a cluster, I managed to make quite a mess while cooking the meat, and had red pasta sauce all over the stove top. With the muffins finished and in the oven, while I had started on Recipe Number Two, I suddenly decided I’d better tackle clearing up the stove before I continued with recipe two.
While cleaning the top of the stove… the power went off. Didn’t take long to realize I’d tripped the safety switch, because Gizmo the Vacuum cleaner set of autonomously on his merry way – a sure sign that we’ve lost some power, not all.
Leave the messy stove, and the baking muffins, and head out the front of the house to reset the safety switch.
Hmmm.
Said safety switch refuses to reset, just keeps bouncing up and saying it’s been triggered by a safety issue.
Hmmm.
Head back into the house, and over the next 45 minutes, climb around furniture, behind cupboards, under beds and effectively twist myself into a decorative piece of macrame, while trying to single out the electricity culprit which is causing the problem. (Fortunately, I do remember to take the muffins out of the oven, which is still working perfectly.)
To no avail.
Clearly, this isn’t working for me… I still don’t have a clue of what is causing the safety switch to trip… and I’m getting a tad frustrated. I leave a text message with the Darling Husband, asking if he can ring me when he finishes work, so that I can pick his brain as to how I fix my current predicament. Go and stand out the front and study the meter box for a while, and realize that the safety switch controls four different areas of power, with four different switches. Through process of elimination, I manage to figure out that the ‘Zone 2’ is the issue. Back into the house, to try and figure out what area of the house that might relate to and discover it’s Adam’s bedroom, and the back wall of the kitchen.
With another 30 minutes of pfaffing about, I narrow down the problem to the kitchen… either the fridge/freezer… or the stove.
Hmmm.
Muck around with the fridge, giving myself a new hernia by pulling it out to get to the power point, unplug it, make the fiftieth trip out the front to try and reset the safety switch… and power stays on!
Progress!
Come back in, and discover something rather odd. Now that I’ve located the general area of the problem, and the power is back on… the stove top is acting a bit hinky.
As if possessed by a recently arrived poltergeist… the automatic ticky-ticky ignite-the-burner-things are all ticky-tickying of their own accord.
That doesn’t seem right. Study the stove top for a minute or two, trying to figure out what the hell is going on, and then it occurs to me. Perhaps, during my very industrious cleaning of the stove top, I’ve managed to short-circuit the ticky-ticky igniter things.
Hmmm.
Discover quickly that I can’t stop the ticky-ticky things, which is going to get very old, very fast. Aggravating noises tend to… well… severely aggravate me. I need to find a way to turn of the ticky-ticky things. And soon.
Turning off the power won’t work, because, as we’ve already discovered, the stove top and refrigerator/freezer are on the same ‘Zone’. Can’t leave the fridge/freezer not working, so now I need to figure out a solution. I don’t particularly want to ring DHA and tell them what I’ve managed to do, so I decide on a solution.
I’m going to fix it myself!
Investigate the top of the stove top and see some likely looking screws possibly holding it all together, so go off in search of a screwdriver. Wrong size screwdriver, so go off in search of another one. Finally get the stove top undone and lo and behold! I can lift the hotplates section up and off, so that I can see underneath to all the ‘worky stuff’.
Except that I don’t have a clue of how the ‘worky stuff’ works. And in the meantime, those ticky-ticky igniters are still driving me to within an inch of losing my mind. (Yes, I’ve done all that, with the power still on.) But I do discover that now, when I turn the gas knobs and push down on what’s left of the buttons… water is dripping out of them. I believe I’ve found the problem!
Attempt to pull out a wire that seems to be attached to the ticky-ticky things, which is about the same time as I discover that I probably shouldn’t be pulling at wires when the power is still on.
Yikes.
Go back outside (for the millionth time), and turn off the power again. Come back in, and pull out a couple of plugs which appear as if they could be the likely suspects. Go back outside, turn the power back on, come back in…
And the ticky-ticky things are still ticky-tickying.
Hmmm.
Touch another wire, get another mild shock, go back outside and turn off the power. Come back in, and pull out every single wire which looks like it could be involved with the ticky-ticky things. Go back out (feeling like I’ve run a marathon), turn the power back on and…
Success!
The ticky-ticky things, thankfully, have shut the hell up. A quick check confirms that I can light the hotplates with a match, and I decide this is the best option until the ticky-ticky things have had a chance to dry out thoroughly.
As I was partway through prepping the second recipe, I decide that I’ll put the butter in the microwave that needs to melt, and while that’s happening, I can put the stove top back together and move on with my day.
You just know it went wrong, don’t you?
Yep, in my wisdom, I put my 50gms of butter in the microwave… not for 20 seconds, which would be a sensible period of time for melting, but for TWO MINUTES and TWENTY SECONDS.
I realized my mistake, right about the time that the little bowl of butter explodes all over the inside of the microwave, covering every single surface in melted, buttery goodness.
Which is precisely the moment when the DH calls me, to find out what’s wrong… and proceeds to listen to the long, torturous disaster that has been my day in the kitchen. (And I can actually HEAR him grinning, over the phone, as I explain everything that has happened so far in my very ‘technologically precise’ manner).
While he’s not thrilled that I’ve been playing with live power, he is pleased to hear that I’ve found a solution. Kind of.
And that, my friends, is another day in the life of me 🙂

Musings from a Tortured Soul

Some mornings, I get up, have a quick shifty at social media and decide it’s all too hard.

I’m out of sync with the rest of the world and on mornings like this, I don’t seem to understand any of it. I’m not competitive. I’m not driven by anything, except the black dog that takes over my head from time to time. I’m a simple person, who likes to write a story and immerse herself in the characters. That’s where I’m comfortable. That’s where I’m safe. I like being at home. I don’t like being out. People don’t understand me, and that’s okay. I am who I am.

What, you probably wonder, has set me off on this tangent?

Social media.  The seemingly thousands of people out there, who are racing down the ‘I’m a published author’ path and seem to constantly  push and promote themselves until they’re blue in the face.  Facebook.  Twitter.  Instagram. Dare I say it – WordPress.  Blogger, and the other 72 bajillion opportunities there are out there, to plug your name, your books… your brand.

Some mornings, I have a quick squizzy at my usual go-to spot on the web – Facebook.  Like most people, I’m linked to friends and family, and like to catch up with what they’re doing.  As a necessary evil (in many cases) I’m linked up to many other people who are authors, like myself.  (Another conundrum.  Am I an author?  Or am I just a woman who likes writing books?  I digress, that’s a subject for another post.)

Anywho… on mornings like this one, I find myself completely intimidated by the ‘publicity’ side of being an author.  ‘Read my book!’,  ‘Available now – free!’, ‘Sign up for my Newsletter’, ‘Like my FB/Twitter/Instagram/Google+ page’, ‘Cover Reveal!’, ‘Attend my Release Party!’, ‘Find out all about me – the author!’ – it’s repeated, ad nauseum, across page after page, after page.

And don’t get me wrong… I’m as guilty (on a ‘running hot and cold, sometimes I do it, sometimes I don’t’ basis) of leaping onto the publicity bandwagon, trying to get my six books ‘out there’ and noticed, as everyone else.

But here’s the honest truth.  I suck at it.  I’m not good at the ‘look at me’ stuff.  I’m not good at the ‘interact with people who’ve read my books’ stuff. (I’m not comfortable with the concept of calling them ‘fans’.  I don’t have that much faith in my own abilities.)

And on days like this, I look at Social Media, and I think ‘ugh’.

So for the people who have, very kindly read my books – I thank you.  While it’s a toss up between me being utterly terrified over your thoughts, or thrilled to bits to think that you’ve taken time out of your life to read the stuff that topples out of my head on a regular basis – I thank you.

Unfortunately, if you’re looking for some publicity savvy author, one with all those up-to-date Social Media pages, a PA to do everything for her in the background, someone who knows the right thing to say, the right thing to do, and is the queen of media blitzes… you’ve picked the wrong person to follow.

If you’re looking for what I think is a pretty good read, well-thought-out characters, and books which take a while to get out there because I like to go over them again and again until my head (and believe me, my head is a pretty tough critic) is happy with them – then I’m the author for you.  But don’t expect to be able to follow me in seventy five different social media settings to find new and entertaining information about my life, my books, my characters, my upcoming books, my release schedule.  It isn’t going to happen.

My mental health issues are well-documented.  I don’t hide who, and what I am. (A bipolar, depressed, middle-aged, anxiety-riddled nervous wreck who has lots of voices in her head wanting to tell their stories, but has to fight with her own demons to believe they’re good enough for anyone to care.)  If you want to know anything about my ‘worlds’ this is the place to come. (Mainly because I like creating chaos out of order, and enjoy playing with this website – I find it therapeutic)

But I must warn you, the other places where I lurk and hover on Social Media, are a bit hit and miss.

And that’s just the way I roll.

 

 

 

The State of My Nation – Update

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Been a while since I’ve done one of these, but I think its worthwhile looking back and seeing where I’ve come from, and how much progress I’ve made:
Nowadays, the good outweighs the bad – something I never thought would happen.
I still have some extreme limitations, but I’m progressing at a steady pace. I’m doing some things which I never thoughts I’d be able to do again – but I’m frustrated, somewhat, by the list of things I still haven’t worked up the courage to do.
I’ve discovered that I can cope, far better, than I expected to do with our new living arrangements, and I think its probably good for me to look back and see what I’m managed to cope with in the first six weeks of Steve being ‘there’, while we’re still living ‘here’. It’s been a heck of a ride, and while none of these are life-changing, end-of-the-world scenarios – for me, they were huge steps in personal growth and proved my coping skills were better than I’d ever thought they would be.

1. Sorting out and dealing with the last of Nannsie’s belongings, including those 700-800 DVDs which turned out to be more like 1500-1600 DVDs. Coping with the many and abrupt mood swings she’s suffered since moving into the nursing home. Standing tough when she’s been misbehaving.
2. The fiasco over the non-working TV at the nursing home, and having to find a way of fixing the problem myself.
3. Attila (the mouse) – whom, I suspect, is still carousing around the place in his little camouflage outfit and Night Vision Goggles, avoiding the baits, traps and ultrasonic beepy things for all he’s worth as he continues to pillage the village for anything edible. Little bastard is still leaving ‘evidence’ of his residential status, and I’m still considering the Napalm option.
4. Bought herbs. Planted herbs. Kept herbs alive.
5. The time when I forgot to order any bread – but ordered enough eggs to keep the Western Australia chooks busy for a few days.
6. Organizing the masses of photos I’ve collated – with everything up to 1985 now organized (from the initial collection) and the next step is to start adding all of Nannsie’s, and the rest of mine from the multiple albums hanging around the place.
7. Bonnie’s Birthday. Jack’s Birthday. Adam’s 21st Birthday.
8. The great Centrelink debacle of 2016.
9. Days where I suspected the house was going to melt, because it was so hot outside.
10.Bonnie’s graduation
11. Epic drives to the other end of the planet and back, to get Alex to TAFE.
12. Survived a rude ignorant driver who nearly pushed me back into not going out at all.
13. Angus’s depression over Steve being away, resulting in extra ‘neediness’ on a regular basis.
14. The great gastro debacle of 2016, which coincided with Adam’s 21st birthday.
15. The escalation of Nannsie’s phone calls from one or two a week, to one a day.
16. Back problems, calf problems, eczema problems, sleeping problems.
17. A house inspection by the owners of the house
18. Jack having a flat battery – which turned into a ‘How many blondes does it take to change a lightbulb’ moment, as Jack, Adam and I combined our (limited) knowledge to find a solution.
19. An epic fight with Nannsie.
20. The park across the road catching fire yesterday afternoon… 200 metres away is way to close.

I think that’s just about everything, and looking back over this list, while none of these issues was world-changing – they have, in fact, changed my world, proving to me that I can do more than I think I can, and that with enough determination, I can overcome the worst of my anxieties, tamp down the panic attacks… and do what needs to be done.

And in the best news so far? My writing muse is singing softly in my ear, and words are being produced on paper (hypothetically, as I use the laptop and MS Word – but that doesn’t sound quite the same). And that, my friends, might be the best news I’ve had in a very long time.

A Strange Week in D.S. Williams Household

This has been one of the strangest weeks I’ve had for a while, with lots of stuff going on, and by Wednesday night, I was firmly convinced Sunday to Wednesday had actually lasted about five weeks, it seemed to have gone on for so long.
Started with a wrenched back on Sunday, when I was avoiding the sharp tiles on the laundry wall (topper sticks out and on the corner creates a sharp point… they are diabolical if you scratch your arm on them.) In my efforts to avoid a scratch as I was swinging by too close, I performed some type of athletic/twist/tuck/roll maneuver in which my left hip went one way, and my spine went the other. The shooting pain down my left leg and the kind-of crunchy sensation in my hip and spine did not bode well for my week.
Had a fairly ordinary night (topped off by an upset stomach, which I put down to taking pain meds) and by Monday morning the back had worked its way up to a stiff and aching neck and a hip and spine refusing to cooperate, which meant I was out of the driving seat to take son #3 to TAFE for the first couple of days of the week. Fortunately, I have two car driving sons who were able to take up the slack… one of whom was on holidays because it was the week of his 21st birthday…
… until Son #1 came down with gastro on Tuesday morning…
… by which time I’d figured out that was what I had, too… and promptly discovered I had passed on to the DH and the beloved daughter.
In the meantime, Son #2 (with a lead-lined stomach) and Son #3 (ditto) have cruised through the week, eating what they like, in copious amounts, while the rest of us have had an up and down week of alternating between dry crackers, upgrading to toast, trying real food and repeating for most of the week.
And of course, Son #2 was celebrating his 21st Birthday on Wednesday… and we had booked to go to Chatters (Chinese) for dinner. At one stage I wasn’t certain who, exactly, was going to make it to his birthday celebration, but we did put on a presentable group, with only Son #1 having to stay home and the rest of us figuring well what the hell, he only turns 21 once.
It didn’t go well. Dinner itself was wonderful… but the rest of the week has seen the DH and I take a giant step back to the beginning of this little odyssey of gastro. But on the bright side, Son #2 had a fabulous birthday, and by Wednesday, my back was MUCH better.
Which leads into the grand finale of the week, in which the owners of the house we are in wanted to do an inspection today. I’d spent weeks working myself up into a state of anxiety over their visit, my OCD absolutely out of control as I ‘prepared’ for their visit, and making sure everything was perfect. Not that we are particularly messy, or dirty, or treat the house like a hovel, or anything like that… but the prospect of the owners inspecting the house sent me over the top in an ever increasing frenzy of ‘it has to be perfect’. Not only have I driven myself to distraction, but I also drove the DH and the Gang of Four to within an inch of retaining their own sanity, I think.
At least, that’s how it was until about halfway through this ‘seems like it’s been five weeks long’ week.
I’ve discovered something new about myself, which could be helpful, if it wasn’t for the fact that I have to be sick. Apparently, my stress levels reach record low levels of ‘I don’t give a damn’, when I’ve got gastro. Which would be helpful, if I could find a way of having the same effect without acquiring a stomach bug to achieve it.

Belated New Year Resolutions

I’m late.  How unusual.  But as with everything in life, my head wasn’t cooperating with the rest of me over the New Year section of the year, and having discovered a few months back that my diagnosis is, in fact, that I’m bipolar… let’s just say that the period around New Years saw me having a particularly ‘bipolar’ session.

New Year isn’t my favorite time of the year, something I might have mentioned in the past.  This year – so much so – that I didn’t make any resolutions on New Year’s Eve, instead spending both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day in a funk.  While so many people consider New Year’s Eve a time of celebration, a time to grab a couple of drinks and celebrate the forthcoming year as a time of optimism and new beginnings, I tend to be the ‘glass is half empty’ kinda gal.

New Year is when I consider the passing of one year and the possibilities for the next with the same, entirely pessimistic view.  I berate myself over what I failed – and worry myself to death over what might happen in the following year.  Kinda tragic, but there you are.  And I don’t think I’m the only person on the planet to do this, but sometimes… sometimes I suspect I’m the only person in this particular boat.

Consequently, I didn’t make any resolutions last Thursday night.  I’ve done all the obvious ones… given up smoking… worked on and successfully self-published some books… heck, this past year, I even found the courage to sign up with a publisher (which is proving to be the best decision I’ve ever made)… and set up a small editing business.

But I couldn’t think of anything ‘big enough’ or ‘important enough’ to consider as resolutions for 2016.  And given the ‘bipolar funk’ I’m just now emerging from, I didn’t think I had anything which fit the bill.

Fast forward to the fourth of January… and I realize I do, in fact, have a couple of very important resolutions to be made for the upcoming year – things that will better my own situation, and hopefully, teach me something new about myself.

Consequently, here is my list. (Drumroll, Please.)

  1. Learn to like myself.  Something I struggle with, every day.  I am truly my own worst enemy, and can’t see that I might have something positive to contribute to friends and family.  Why would anyone like me – when I don’t like myself?  To improve in this regard, I’m going to try and think of one thing each day that I like about myself and write it down.   When I’m at my lowest, perhaps those written reminders will help.
  2.  Don’t be so hard on myself.  This is a biggie, and one which I struggle with daily.  I’m a massive ‘responsibility taker’.  If anything goes wrong, it’s entirely my fault.  If a bill doesn’t get paid on time – I’ll immediately berate myself for missing it, even though I live in a house with five other people who could all take responsibility for the situation.  If we run out of toilet paper – that’s on me, and I should have better control of things.  If the Gang of Four are late for school/work – somehow, even though they are mostly adults – I can find a way of bringing it back to my fault.  My mantra for 2016 will be ‘I’m not in charge of everything.  The people surrounding me need to take responsibility for their own lives, and I can’t micro-manage everyone’s lives and keep them from making mistakes.’
  3. I don’t have to please everyone. I think I may have tried this one in previous years, but I’m yet to learn it.  I’m in charge of my own happiness – but I’m not responsible for anybody else’s happiness.  And if people don’t like the way I lead my life or think I should be doing something differently… that’s on them, not me.  I need, very much, to learn this one and get it to stick.  I’m so very tired of feeling a sense of overwhelming responsibility to please other people.  And I spend so much time anxiously worrying over pleasing those other people, that I forget to enjoy my own life with the people who matter.

So there you are.  Nothing particularly life-changing to the majority of the planet – but for me – three things which would make a huge difference to my own self-esteem and belief in myself.  So I begin 2016 with the best of intentions, and we’ll see how it pans out in due course.

And to those who read my blog – I wish you the very best of luck in following through with your own resolutions in 2016.

And Now, a Word (or two) from D.S.

You realize you’ve been off the grid for while when you start getting ‘Are you okay’ messages from international friends because they haven’t heard from you – not even the generalized ‘Flick through Facebook and post a funny meme’ posts.
There are reasons for this, many of them too complex to go through here. But in light of this week being Mental Health Awareness Week, suffice to say many of those complex issues have a great deal to do with my state of mental health.
All writers, I think, suffer from a lack of belief in themselves. Self-doubt plagues us, fear of producing crap is a constant presence, and most of what we do write is dismissed as hopeless by that inner voice that taunts a writer.
And in my case – those persnickety mental health issues just add to the chorus of doom.  Why bother writing anything, they ask. You’ve never been any good at anything. You have always been a failure. You suck at this and you always will.
Add to those voices, a group of major life changes, and its become a recipe for disaster.
My little family (the Darling Husband and Gang of Four) are facing  major upheaval in the dying months of 2015. We’re looking down the barrel of significant changes to our lives.
And have I mentioned just how lousy I am with change?
Our options include a change of job, with the DH possibly leaving the Australian Air Force after twenty five years. That’s a pretty big change in itself. Or there’s the compulsory posting to the other side of the country if he remains in the services. Not something we, or the Gang of Four are thrilled about. (It was much easier to move, lock, stock and barrel when they were little, trust me.) Or there’s a position, some eighty kilometres from where we currently live, which may or may not be available which would require the DH to live away from home Monday to Friday because we don’t want the beloved daughter to have to change school for her final year. Or, worst case scenario, the DH takes the posting… and we see him about once every three months.
Consequently, D.S. Williams, Author is on extended hiatus, because with all that competing for room in my head, any characters and storylines haven’t got a hope in hell of getting through – until we know in which direction our lives are headed. 🙂 Continue reading “And Now, a Word (or two) from D.S.”

It’s Been A While…

I’ve been missing in action for quite a few weeks now, with one thing and another, blogging has been on the backburner.
One of those reasons has been having surgery, for a hernia which has been hanging around for a while, but hadn’t caused me too much trouble until recently.
Another thing, has been a heck of a lot of procrastination.
There should be a self-help group for procrastinators. Somewhere we could go to meet other procrastinators and admit our addictions.

Hi, my name is D.S. and I procrastinate.  I’m addicted to Facebook, and have been known to lurk around Pinterest and when I’m really trying to avoid my work-in-progress, I’ll pfaff about playing Candy Crush Soda Saga and Mirrors of Albion to avoid actually opening the word file I should be concentrating on. I have a problem.

My new week’s resolution is to be tougher on myself and give myself a firm talking to if I’m procrastinating. I’ll let my readers know later on how that’s going.
Probably in a Facebook post 🙂